In certain states across the country, medical marijuana is an option for folks suffering from various ailments and seeking relief. Now, as research is constantly on the emerge, pet parents and veterinarians alike have found that medical cannabis provides positive benefits for dogs as well.

Whether a dog has cancer, seizures, or anxiety, cannabis oil can serve as an alternative medication to help treat symptoms. Here’s everything pet parents need to know about cannabis oil for dogs. Visit:

What Is Cannabis Oil?

Cannabis oil is liquid derived from the marijuana plant. There are lots of ways to extract oil from the plant, including CO2 extraction, says Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of an pet cannabis company in California called VETCBD.

“The [marijuana] flower contains trichomes, that happen to be glands that contain essential oils,” Shu explains. After the glands are separated from the plant, they can be formulated to get the ideal ratio of cannabinoids, he says.

Marijuana plants contain 80 different cannabinoids, Shu says, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component) and CBD (cannabidiol, the medical component).

“By using cannabinoids together, it’s far better than separately,” Shu says of the “entourage effect” provided by cannabis. Hemp products, independently, contain significantly less than 0.3 percent THC.

Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California, points out that cannabis oil has no psychoactive effect on dogs when dosed properly. “With regards to the nature of the merchandise, if it contains little if any THC, then your dog won’t get high.”

What Are the advantages of Cannabis Oil for Dogs?

Cannabis oil can be used to treat seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, symptoms of cancer, and gastrointestinal issues, among other health conditions in dogs.

Relief is provided as the cannabinoids in marijuana connect to the endocannabinoid system, Shu explains. “It’s a series of receptors that run throughout your body,” he says. “The cannabinoids connect to the receptors in the torso and modulate things like pain, anxiety, and nausea.”

Unlike some common pain medicine for dogs, medical cannabis has no life-threatening side effects with proper dosage, Shu points out. “It doesn’t damage the kidney, liver, or GI tract. The dogs aren’t high or sedated.”

WHAT EXACTLY ARE the Potential Risks of Cannabis Oil for Pets?

Like any medications, overdosing can lead to potential risks for pets. “The most significant is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they can be high,” Richter says. “Depending how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the consequences of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.” Of these episodes, a pet may not have the ability to stand or eat. In the event that you suspect an overdose, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Life-threatening risks for dogs from medical cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Richter says, adding that toxicity more regularly occurs whenever a pet has eaten something that contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they will often have problems due to these other ingredients.” Having said that, ingestion of huge amounts of marijuana has been fatal in several dogs, so avoiding overdoses with medical cannabis continues to be vitally important, warns Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary advisor with petMD.

Graham Quigley, owner and acupuncturist at the Holistic Animal Clinic in San Rafael, California, worries that as the popularity of alternative medicine increases, pet parents may buy into “overly ambitious claims about cannabis oil” from unreliable sources. Quigley stresses that cannabis oil is not a “cure-all.”

Much like any medication, pet parents should consult their veterinarian first before treating their dog with cannabis oil.

How Is Cannabis Oil Administered to Dogs?

Though there are a few topical treatments, cannabis oil is normally administered orally to dogs. In addition, it can be utilized together with traditional medications and treatments. Emerging research suggests there may be “synergistic benefits” between marijuana and traditional medications, Richter says. “You will discover few, if any, known significant drug interactions that you really need to take into account.”

Again, the right dosage is imperative. “As is the truth with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Richter says. “If you dose pets properly, they will obtain the positive effect that you’re looking for without having any psychoactive side effects.”

But herein lies a difficulty. The research needed to determine the right dosage for CBD oil in dogs simply hasn’t been done yet, Coates says. And, to make matters worse, FDA testing has shown that lots of CBD products contain little if any CBD, she adds. Your best option available to pet parents at the moment is to talk to a veterinarian that has experience with pets being treated with cannabis oil about proper dosage and reputable manufacturers, Coates says.

Where Can Pet Owners Get Cannabis Oil for Their Dogs?

Obtaining medical cannabis for your dog all depends on where you live and your state’s marijuana laws.

“In California, to legally purchase marijuana, you must have a medical cannabis card, which a person would get from other doctor,” Richter says. “There is absolutely no legal mechanism where I, as a veterinarian, provides a medical cannabis card for a pet.”

Pet parents who wish to give their dog cannabis oil should talk with their veterinarian. Following that, pet parents who’ve a medical marijuana card can search for a reputable dispensary and purchase the merchandise that best meets their pet’s needs.

Pet parents who are in regions where medical marijuana is unavailable can also consider hemp products, that have lower doses of THC.